Liberty Station: From Barracks to Brews
Uncle Sam wants you!…..to join this tour exploring an important part of San Diego’s naval past, and find out what’s happening now in this exciting new neighborhood.
- Learn important sailor skills without having to drop and give us 20
- Explore recruit life by visiting buildings essential to training such as barracks, the mess hall, and other facilities
- Pay tribute to the 52 submarines and their crew lost in World War II
- Using historic photos, we’ll compare the recruit experience with the modern-day visitor’s experience
By the time it closed in 1997 the Naval Training Center had seen over two million men and women pass through its gates on their way to becoming sailors or to learning a new trade or skill. In subsequent years the area has transformed into Liberty Station, a rich and diverse mixed-use community that honors its Naval past. On this private tour we’ll explore what this area was like when it was a base, and what visitors can see and do there today.
Kick things off by exploring the heart of what was once Camp Paul Jones, the first camp established that housed 100-150 recruits per barracks and get a feel for what it was like to be one of those sailors (without the drill instructor!). Its park-like setting is full of secrets – such as the history of the large tree there and the special requirements for decorating it at Christmas, the design of the barracks’ roof that’s key to keeping it cool, or the connection the current public art on display has with the camp’s Navy past.
Then pass by the former dispensary, where early recruits received medical care – sometimes for the first time in their lives. We’ll view the former Sail Ho Golf Course, because it wasn’t all work and no play on the base. Several golf pros have played here, and the course is even a final resting place for two people! At the historic entrance we get a feel for what it was like to enter the base as a new recruit, hear how the gate played a role in their daily lives, and what impact having the Marine Core Recruit Depot next door had on Naval recruits.
It wasn’t all men who served here, at least not after 1943 when WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) arrived, taking up residence in a nearby barracks away from the men. We’ll then pass by the very first buildings on base which contained the Mess Hall and talk about what it took to feed so many people, multiple times a day.
We’ll pause at a work of art that replicates the whale boat sailors learned to row in the nearby channel and learn a sailor skill or two. Afterwards we’ll head over to the heart of the base – the Command Center – where the top brass kept the base running. There we’ll view an exhibit that highlights recruit life including something dear to everyone – food! From there it’s on to Ingram Plaza, to learn about the person it was named for, and why that’s a better name than its alternative.
Next up we’ll visit the Boats Memorial, dedicated to the 52 submarines and their crews lost during World War II. If time and energy allow, we’ll walk to the landlocked ship referred to by locals as the “USS Neversail.” Then we’ll proceed across Preble Field, where recruits marched during training and on their graduation day. We’ll celebrate their legacy and your “graduation” from the tour and sailor training by raising a beer (or other beverage of your choice). There you’ll receive a certificate of completion.
From there, your guide will recommend additional ways to explore the Navy’s legacy at Liberty Station, along with how to enjoy the area’s many cultural organizations or provide information on its many restaurants.
- Meeting Point: “USS BRAVE” art piece, in front 2816 Historic Decatur Rd Suite 135, San Diego, CA 92106
- Start Time: 10:00am
- Inclusions: One beer or equivalent. Non-alcoholic beverages for those under 21 years of age.
- Exclusions: Additional food and beverages, items of a personal nature, tips/gratuities for your guide.
Secrets and Highlights of Balboa Park
Considered the cultural crown jewel of San Diego, Balboa Park has a bit of everything. Your local guide will show you the highlights along with the lesser known spots that even locals don’t know about. With its notable architecture and gorgeous gardens, this is the prettiest tour in town!
Coronado History and Highlights
Get a taste for charming Coronado, just a short ride but a world away from downtown San Diego! Stroll beautiful streets lined with cafés, and multi-million dollar homes, then dip your toes in the sandy beaches along the Pacific Ocean. Hear about the fascinating people who’ve called this island home.
Old Town Tales, Tacos, and Tequila
Come explore San Diego’s most historic neighborhood! As the birthplace of California, there is more to this part of town than souvenir shops. We’ll find the hidden treasures hiding in plain sight, take a brief hike, and top off the day with delicious tacos and a tasty tequila beverage.